Thank you for writing to me about food standards. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I fully recognise the importance that the public attach to the UK’s high standards of food production, and the important selling point it provides for our farmers, whose high-quality produce is in demand around the world. The Government will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards in any trade negotiations.
Without exception, all animal products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements from all trading partners, including the EU and others, will have to meet stringent food safety standards, as they do now. These standards have been built up over many years and have the trust of the public and the world. I know the Government will not adjust those standards to secure a trade deal. The standards will be based on science and decided by the UK alone.
I want to see a vibrant and resilient farming sector in the UK, and the UK’s newfound status as an independent trading nation could benefit our farming industry. Indeed, new free trade agreements could lead to gains for UK agriculture.
For example, analysis by the Department for International Trade shows that an agreement with the US will deliver economic gains for the agri-food sector. Opening the vast US market could help boost UK farmers’ incomes and reduce their input costs, making them more competitive, more productive, and more profitable.
For more information please see the website of the Food Standards Agency: https://www.food.gov.uk/
The Government does not think that there is any compelling argument for a new Food Standards Commission to replace our current Food Standards Agency and all the other safeguards that we currently have, and I am in full agreement on that.
Thank you again for writing to me about these issues. I have to say, in passing, that there does seem to be a lot of ridiculous disinformation and speculation at the moment being disseminated about food standards by those opposed to the Government and, occasionally, by those with vested interests who want to secure special protections that would not be to the benefit of fair competition or the consumer. So I would ask you to be cognisant of that and not be taken in by stories that are designed to scare or to dissemble.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking